On Weathering

On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time by Moshen Mostafavi and David Leatherbarrow

ever-changing “finish”

Modernism – the appearance of replaceable parts
– frequency in material failure results in more efficient and durable buildings

mass production – greater choice begets formulaic solutions
computers – ease of repitition reduces reinvention

more materials results in difficulties “mastering” a material
products do not take into account uniqueness of place

kit-of-parts results in sitelessness

Rossi – pregiven forms applied to a site “remakes” the site

weatherboard, weatherstrip, weatherproofing – elements that bear the weathering

placement of stone – considering grain and hard-surfaces

“weathering as a process that can productively modify a building over time”

“the accumulation of dirt enriches; from another, it dissolves the building.”

“The building’s regeneration and degeneration emphasizes the temporality of nature as an order of beginning and ending or, more broadly, life and death.”

rustication adds dignity
rustication – faux weathering

roughness (faux weathering) in order to obtain smoothness (upon “real” weathering)

“in the life or time of a construction, however, nature re-forms the “finished” art work.”

“This is the actual assimilation of an art work back into its location, the place from which it was first taken.”

staining through juxtaposition – copper produces green stain that seeps into porous stone

staining, erosion, surface faults

Le Corb – white transcended class barriers; ext and int are both white to exemplify the continuity of space
– pre-manufactured furniture for everyone!

Loos – “whitewash” is relative to place – Vienna is lime-washed
– “It was our table, ours!”

page 86/87 – Corb on cathedrals – “When the Cathedrals Were White”

Fernand Leger, Mies, Loos – white should be supplemented by color and material richness (color often being inherent to rich material)

1. rejection of thick wall and window well
2. development of flat wall and expansive window
3. recognition of weather problems
4. invention of sunscreen
5. discovery of space between inside and outside -> new facade element

“But dirt is not necessarily impure, buildings are made of matter, earth is part of their fabric.”

Cor-Ten first used on John Deere building
“not upon but with” the topography

“The mouth kisses, the mouth spits; no one mistakes the saliva of the first for the second. Similarly, there is nothing necessarily impure about dirt.”

“In traditional cultures the distinction between purity and impurity was not absolute, nor was that between what was sacred and profane; the relationship was ambiguous, each side of the pair being part of the other – dirt was both impure and pure.”

Laugier – calls for separation of cemeteries from the city, places for the dead being sites of impurity in contrast with hygienic urban locations

“Le Corbusier is reported to have said that the concrete work of the Carpenter Center was too finely finished.”

“What remains from the past is a trace or impression of an event, not the thing itself as it existed when present.”


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